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This Historic Old Town Triangle Home Is Yours for $2.7 Million

The 5,500-square-footer, faithfully rebuilt in the early 1990s, is a comparative bargain in an ultra-pricey neighborhood.

The restored French Renaissance facade, with its locally famous angel doors.   Photo: Ian Spula

Price: $2,695,000

If you’ve ever wandered Old Town Triangle, you know that the one block of Lincoln Park West that qualifies as low-rise outshines the stretch dotted with luxury high-rises. The 1800 North block is largely made up of vintage town homes with a couple handsome multi-units and Louis Sullivan’s Ann Halsted Row Houses to break up the monotony. Locals know the neighborhood’s historic homes by their builders or by nicknames. In the case of the Tonk House, it’s both: an 1874 French Renaissance home built by Johann Tonk, commonly referred to as the “Angel Door House” for the adorable cherubs carved into the front doors.

The Angel Door House just listed for sale asking $2.7 million. Built from $60 of materials donated by a Great Chicago Fire relief fund, its value sure has soared. The roughly 5,500-square-foot property sits on an oversized 25’ x 150’ lot and is built deep, though enough lot remains for a tidy back yard and a two-car garage (not a given in Old Town Triangle). Sellers Rick and Molly Greenwood bought the place in 1992 after Rick stumbled onto the open house and made a compulsive offer. The house was chopped up into apartments shortly after World War I and left that way for 70 years, but the couple immediately set about renovating with the help of George Pappageorge of Pappageorge Haymes Partners, now a large full service architecture firm but back then more interior design-driven.

The home exists today as a stately blend of old and new. There’s no trace of the old ballroom; in its stead is an incredible three-story atrium with floating stairs and balconies. The great room with huge eat-in kitchen, living area, and grand fireplace is also totally new, as are the floors throughout the home. The original moldings had deteriorated to where they couldn’t be saved, but the Greenwoods had them reproduced. The formal living room’s pocket doors are original and so, of course, are the front doors with charmingly disproportionate angels brandishing cornucopias. According to the book At Home in Our Old Town, Tonk’s son carved the doors as the home’s finishing touch.

There are three large bedrooms and three full and one partial bathroom. High ceilings prevail throughout and reach 12 feet on the main level. The atrium burrows down to a marble-floored lower level that strings together a wood-paneled office, family room with mural panels, and a bedroom. The home’s other selling points include three wood-burning fireplaces and a garage-top deck, but this place is going to get noticed for its presence on the block and grandeur within.

Price Points: The listing is competitive with Old Town Triangle comps, and actually falls on the low end. There are two newly built versions of this house on the market nearby—each with 6,200 square feet and priced near $4 million–and there were eight single-family sales of over $2.5 million in the last year alone within a four-block radius. “The finishes [at the Lincoln Park West home] are all very high-end but not super modern,” offers listing agent Suzanne Gignilliat of Coldwell Banker. Some buyers will want the newest spoils for their kitchen and baths, so there has to be some calculation for that.

The Greenwoods keep a home in Naples, Florida and are simply looking to downsize. Showings have just begun, but Gignilliat tells me the phones have been ringing off the hook.

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